Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kings Forest Recovers from Hurricane; Major Pollution Problem with Bear Branch Creek

Kings Forest is emerging from under its thick layer of tree debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Several streets and residences were impacted hard, but neighbors pulled together and put their chain saws to work to clear the streets.

A major health hazard remains, however, that our residents can't fix: the foul-smelling sewage waste water trapped in Bear Branch creek behind our homes, the result of the power failure at the sewage lift station on Riverlawn in Bear Branch (designated G103-36-00 on the FEMA flood plain map).

The Kings Forest board and Revitalization Committee have been pursuing remediation of this health hazard since Tuesday morning, when we called Centerpoint Energy and urged them to restore power at the lift station. To underscore the urgency, we explained how Bear Branch Creek dumps directly into Kingwood Lake, and from there, into Lake Houston.

Since the power was not restored at the lift station until Friday evening, the putrid flow continued through the week. With no rain to flush out the creek, we now have a stagnant black cesspool.

We have filed a complaint through the Houston 311 number, requesting immediate action to clean the creek. Depending on the City's response, we plan to contact the leadership of all the HOA’s downstream from Kings Forest that are impacted by this.

We are not experts in waste water management, but suspect there has been no provision to provide generator power to this lift station and its overflow is set up to run into the creek.

We attach here a map showing how this creek flows into Kingwood Lake, then into Lake Houston. We also attach a photograph of one small section of the creek. The black water isn’t a function of the lighting – it is crude-oil black and so smelly as to be difficult to approach.

Our request to the governing entities for the creek and City waste water disposal will be to take immediate action to prevent such overflow in the future -- whether it's to install a back-up generator, or find other means to control the flow. We cannot imagine the appropriate and desired solution is to overflow into Lake Houston, which serves as a source of drinking water for the City of Houston.